Refresh 1 Old Tiffs 1

  • Dave Smith
  • Trevor Huggins
  • Steve Moodley
  • Simon Burton
  • Pete Markham
  • John Kent
  • Bruce Houghton
  • Craig Walker
  • Oscar Omo
  • Keri Ryan
  • Ricky Evelyn
  • Rob Lee
  • Nigel Sprunt
  • Steve Reid

In a Tiffs season – even one where half the teams are changing their names – there are still a few things you can depend on.

Our first friendly is always against Wandsworth, our form will fall with the autumn leaves, and our away match to Molesey will be afflicted by dodgy refereeing.

While the opposition themselves are a decent bunch, we have noted before when visiting this venue a partiality to the home side on behalf of match officials.

After last season when an extremely contentious penalty was awarded (there’s a clue its contentious when not a single member of the opposition appeals for it) we knew what to expect.

But still.

I present in evidence your honour, the award of three penalties in Saturday’s match, all to some degree dubious.

I present a referee who allowed the game to start then began to pick members of the Tiffs team and ask them to leave the pitch to remove jewellery – insisting that play continue immediately so Tiffs played on with nine men.

And a ref who was one minute eagle eyed (when spotting the slightest of possible infringements by Tiffs) yet unsighted in those other moments when only a blind man could miss the most blatant of fouls upon our brave troops.

What about the game? Well, it wasn’t all that, to be honest.

Tiffs had the better of the first half as the Refresh rearguard looked decidedly pregnable. The returning Nigel Sprunt was put through a couple of times but couldn’t quite recapture that incisiveness he was showing earlier in the season. Other attacks saw some last ditch defending by the opposition, and Rob Lee popped in a goal about 30 mins in.

That was after dodgy penalty number one, a cross tossed into the mixer and the ref (in eagle eyed mode) saw a push by a defender. Justice was done when they missed it.

We had our own penalty, a cast iron one where the defender found Rob Lee past him and bearing down on goal. Rather than skip round Rob and dispossess him, the chap put an arm on the attacker’s shoulder, hauling him to the ground.

Unfortunately Rob caught the penalty missing contagion, and hit it in a saveable area to the goalie’s left.

The score was 1-0 at half time.

Refresh took a few risks in the second half, which led to increased excitement in the penalty areas, though still not that many opportunities.

One of the clearest Refresh opportunities was dodgy penalty number two – and this one was SERIOUSLY dodgy.

A ball was played too far ahead of a bulky Refresh forward. In his frustration, he pushed our full back Keri over, and the Tiffs man toppled onto the ball, grabbing it on the assumption that a free kick for the push was about to be awarded.

The ref, now in ‘blind and missing the bleeding obvious’ mode, saw no push, so gave handball.

Our keeper Dave saved the poorly taken penalty.

We threatened very rarely despite the extra men Refresh had thrown into the attack. Oscar had a dangerous moment, a curler missing the top right corner. And Markham joined a breakaway to arrive at just the moment the ball was dropping invitingly from a defensive header. He caught the volley ok but it missed that top corner, unfortunately as that would have been a memorable one!

The only significant action left was the refs award of a third penalty to Refresh for a goalie touch on an attacker. This time they scored.

The game finished 1-1 though it felt like a defeat, especially to our skipper who left the field fully believing we’d lost. He had forgotten first goal – not one of our most memorable ones, I guess.